Saying Kim Kardashian ‘deserved’ her robbery is just another form of victim blaming
Why does it matter that she posts about her jewellery on social media?
In the early hours of yesterday morning, Kim Kardashian West was robbed by burglars wearing ski masks and claiming to be police officers. According to reports she was tied up, had a gun pushed to her temple and was demanded to hand over £8m worth of jewellery.
Most of the coverage was quick to point out that Kim K is a mother of two and the wife of a rapper, ignoring the fact that she’s a successful businesswoman, video game mogul and cultural icon. But even more troubling was the underlying assumption that Kim somehow deserved to be robbed. Whether it was because she flaunted her jewellery on Instagram or because people just found her annoying, the idea was that for whatever reason she had it coming.
Regular negativity can’t come as a surprise to Kim. Everything she does is pawed over or scrutinised. She and the rest of her imaginatively nicknamed “Kartrashian” family are annoying, people argue. She’s famous for no reason. She’s a bad mum or (in the words of Piers Morgan) “a slapper” for posing for beautifully taken naked portraits.
But the criticism of Kim has taken an even uglier turn.
Comments have turned from simple critique of her career moves to full on victim blaming. What did she expect to happen wearing all that jewellery? She shouldn’t have boasted about it on her Snapchat. She should have had a bodyguard watching over her at all times.
Some commenters have gone as far as to claim that Kim is making up the whole ordeal for sympathy or to gain some publicity for Keeping up with the Kardashians – a show that has just been renewed for four more seasons and regularly scores over one million viewers.
For a lot of women, it all sounds a little too familiar.
Swap “why was she wearing those diamonds?” for “why was she wearing that skirt?” or “where was her bodyguard” for “where were her friends?” and you’re back to the casual victim blaming we’re all used to when a woman dares to report a crime.
One in three women will be physically or sexually assaulted at some point their lifetime and this number only goes up depending on where you’re from and how you identify. Despite this, only a third of rapes are reported to the police. A study by Ipsos Reid showed that 29 per cent of rape victims don’t report what has happened to them because they blame themselves.
Victim blaming makes women feel afraid to come forward. It makes victims feel that they’re to blame for what happened to them and that no one believes them.
When a violent crime happens to someone as famous as Kim Kardashian we should be using the coverage it gets to show victims that we support them. This story should have been an opportunity for us to talk about the violent crime happening against women across the world.
But instead, people have used it to doubt her and question her just because they don’t like a sex tape she made nearly fifteen years ago.
When someone with as huge of a fan base as Kim can’t get people to believe her what chance do the rest of us have?